An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Friday, July 11, 2008

O'Malley/Brown Tout Anti-Union Climate

The state Department of Business and Economic Development's web site is apparently all about drawing businesses to the great state of Maryland by touting how bad things are for working people who want to organize to improve their standard of living.

In a page headlined by the smiling faces of Governor O'Malley and LG Brown businesses considering relocating to Maryland are offered a "very favorable labor climate." Do Messrs O'Malley and Brown think a favorable labor climate is one in which working people are discouraged from organizing for fair treatment, living wages, and a voice at work?

Union Participation

While not a "right-to-work" (RTW) state, Maryland offers businesses a very favorable labor climate.
  • A quality workforce supplies a great resource, key to achieving corporate goals.
  • The percentage of private sector union membership in Maryland is 7.2 percent, which is lower than the national average of 7.5 percent and lower than most northeast and midwest states.
  • 13.8 percent of the state's private sector manufacturing workers are union members, a lower percentage than two of the RTW states, as well as other states including New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
    (Source: Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.)

An analysis of companies new to Maryland from 1990 to 2001 (excluding firms that were already unionized upon their entry to the state and firms with fewer than 25 workers) reveals that:

  • Only two percent of the over 3,200 companies were petitioned by unions.
  • Half of Maryland's counties experienced no petitions for union elections.
  • Unions won representation rights for only one percent of the total new firms during the period analyzed.
  • Although petitions were filed most frequently in the services and manufacturing industries, unions won representation rights in just four percent of new Maryland manufacturing firms.